Gov. Walker Defends Against Prison Visit Criticism

Governor Scott Walker has said he believes there is no value in his visiting state correctional facilities. This position has been criticized on the left and has puzzled some on the right. In an interview with Media Trackers Communications Director Jerry Bader, Walker defended against the criticism expressing his views on reform, and was again harshly critical of Democratic Candidate Tony Evers for supporting a plan to reduce prison population by 50%. It’s a move Walker says would release thousands of dangerous offenders into the public.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in August that Gov. Walker commented that he had no plans to visit prisons around the state and that he commented “No, to me there’s no value to me visiting. To me, there’s people that we hire to run the corrections system and, certainly, we’ll allow them to do their jobs.” As to why Gov. Walker won’t visit he told Media Trackers:

“Well from our standpoint it’s one of those where as a lawmaker I’ve visited just about everyone in the past and even visited some of the ones we had folks out of state. I don’t visit every single state agency in terms of all their different offices across the state of Wisconsin. What I do is put people in position as cabinet secretaries and try to hold them accountable to be effective and efficient and accountable to the tax payers and that’s what we are doing here.”

Gov. Walker also expressed his concern with Democratic candidate Tony Evers support of a 50% reduction in prison population, as he claimed that two-thirds of inmates are in prison for violent offences:

“I think the difference is that the Democrats want to pay a lot of attention to that so that the public doesn’t pay attention to the fact that Tony Evers, in a publicly broadcast debate when asked if he supported a plan by MICAH one of the groups in Milwaukee that’s pushing for a 50% reduction in the prison population said he supported that plan. I think that the public deserves to know that if that were to happen today that would mean thousands and thousands of violent criminals in the state prison system today, two-thirds are in there for violent offences. If you let 50% out today that would mean thousands of violent criminals out on the streets. As long as I’m Governor i’m never going to let a violent criminal out before the end of their prison sentence.

Despite criticism for choosing not to visit prisons, Gov. Walker told Bader they will continue to push for correctional reform:

“In contrast I do believe in prison reform, ironically just last week I was down with a number of female offenders who were involved in the Ellsworth correctional facility, that’s a female institution where we were celebrating their graduation from a CNC boot camp program at Gateway technical college, and that’s my answer for reform. I started that years ago with the legislature to expand it in the past couple of years, we are going to do even more in the future and that’s where people in prison, men and women alike near the end of their sentence, get training so that when they are out, when they have paid their debt to society, they are ready to be a part of society going froward that’s the way to reform the system.”

You can hear Media Trackers Communications Director Jerry Bader’s interview with Walker here: